Top-10: Queenstown mountain biker Jess Blewitt at Red Bull Formation, in Utah, earlier this year. PICTURE: CATHERINE AEPPEL/RED BULL CONTENT POOL


Young Queenstown downhill mountain bike ace Jess Blewitt has announced herself on the
world stage with an eighth in the world championships in Italy last Sunday.

Still a teenager and in her debut season on the world cup circuit, Blewitt tamed the famous
‘Black Snake’ course in Val di Sole with a measured ride that saw her finish only two seconds out of fourth place.

It’s the first top-10 elite women’s downhill finish by a Kiwi since fellow Queenstowner Scarlett Hagen at the same venue 13 years ago.

“The key was to stick to my game plan, at 85-90% rather than 100,” Blewitt says.

“I wanted to make sure I finished the run rather than mucking up and not finishing.’’

The 19-year-old, who won her first national elite title in February after dominating the junior ranks for two seasons, ventured to Europe three months ago for her first crack at the big time.

Before the weekend she’d already racked up impressive results on the World Cup downhill and Enduro World Series circuits, including an eighth in her most recent World Cup in Slovenia.

The result’s given her a confidence boost for the rest of the season, she says.

‘‘I’d like to stay in the top-10 and I think I’ve done pretty good in my first year.

“It would be nice for a podium, but I need to stick to the same game plan and focus on next year with training, more training, more riding and see where that takes me.”

She has another world cup race in Switzerland later this month before heading to the United States for the last three events of her season.